tv Dateline NBC NBC August 28, 2015 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT
kate and amy jane went to india and nepal together back in 2012. small town girls, kate from wisconsin, amy jane from oregon. >> she's always ready to give and pour her heart out to people and just give everything she had to offer. >> they were there three months for something called youths with a mission. or ywam for short. like tourists they went to the sh j mahal. like preachers, they spread the word. to children, mostly. for whom amy jane was magnetic, irresistible. >> they would see her and run up and say the word that means sister, sister. so excited. >> when the three-month mission trip was over. >> she hated it. she was like i don't want to go home. >> home for amy jane was a universe away from vibrant teeming india. here it is. pendleton. safely tucked into a small
valley on the vast rolling flanks of eastern oregon. cowboy country. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the pendleton roundup! >> home to one of the nation's biggest rodeos, the pendletot roundup, which each september celebrates the town's rough and tumble past as a brawling and bordello-filled cow town. and then good conservative citizens wave good-bye to the parting cowboys and settle into a safenind predictable life and fill the pews every sunday morning without fail. people like bill caldera, who was like family to amy jane an lod her parents, jim and kathy brandhagen. >> they brought amy jane home when she was three days old. and they brought her home. >> bill and knew the remarkable little girl from the very beginning.
you watched amy jane grow up. >> yes. >> and saw what sort of girl emerge? >> she is very carefree, loving, didn't know a stranger. >> the brandhagens asked bill to speak for them after what happened when they sorely needed their church family at pendleton free methodist. like youth minister jeff hummel and his wife lisa who encountered the dancing sprite when she was in middle school. >> if she got the feeling that you were left out, she'd find you and make sure that you knew you had a friend. >> little bit like pippi longstocking. >> i always remember she knew everyone's name. she was just fun. >> one year when she was far away in india, the people who loved amy jane worried a lot. and didn't breathe easy until she returned home to the safety and security of pendleton. where -- >> she was waiting for god to tell her what to do next. whether it was going to be to
travel the world or go back or go to school. >> she wanted more freedom too, so she moved out of her parents' house and got herself a little apartment in downtown pendleton. worked two jobs to pay for it including a job cleaning motel rooms at the travelodge across from city hall. >> she was excited to get this other job, but she wasn't so sure about working at the hotel. she was a little nervous about it. >> after all she'd never done that sort of thing before, or answered to a boss who -- this one sounded gruff. but she went. and she scoured and scrubbed those little rooms that looked out on downtown pendleton. and then it was august 14th, 2012. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> i am calling from travelodge, there's a girl dead in the bathroom. i don't know. >> a girl dead in the bathroom? >> i think she's passed out. >> okay. i'm going to get the police and ambulance headed that way, okay? from the 911 operator, bill
caldera listened and felt the dread flood in. >> just gave me a feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was not good about this call. >> bill, remember, wts a close friend of the brandhagen family, attends the same church. but he's also a policeman. and that day with the chief on vacation, lieutenant bill caldera was the man in charge. >> as soon as one of my patrol sergeants arrived on scene he requested my presence which i knew the we would probably be dealing with a homicide. >> as he raced to the motel he couldn't know what had just been started there any more than whose life had just ended. >> what this veteran investigator was about to find would leave him stunned. >> i just can't tell you the feeling that went through my mind. >> when we return, a crime that may be impossible to solve thanks to a suspect list that could include anyone and eryone.
>> within the first hour of being at the crime scene upwards of 50 people walked by. e iconic navigator. and get a first look at the entirely new 2016 mid-size utility lincoln mkx. during the final days of the lincoln summer invitation get 0% apr for 72 months on the 2015 lincoln navigator. take it all off? every kiss-proof, cry-proof, stay-proof look? neutrogena makeup remover does. it erases 99% of your mobest stubborn makeup with one towelette. need any more proof than that? neutrogena. a
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if god had a plan for pendleton, oregon, on the afternoon of august 14th, 2012, one could hardly have imagined it would be this. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> there's a girl dead in the bathroom. >> lieutenant bill caldera prepared himself as he drove over to the travelodge and then climbed the stairs to room 231.
all the preparation in the world could not have been enough. lying on the bathroom floor her lifeless body punctured by the startling scarlet of a dozen stab wounds was the sweet free spirit he'd known since she was a baby, 19-year-old amy jane brandhagen. kicked me in the pit of my stomach. i just can't tell you the feeling that went through my mind. >> almost like she was your kid in a way. >> very much. >> lieutenant caldera took it upon himself to notify amy jane's parents. >> and that was probably the toughest thing that i've ever had to do in my career. and i can't tell you the feeling we all had. we broke down in tears. >> but why would anyone want to kill amy jane of all people? >> i was crushed. like how is this even possible? i was speechless. and then i just sat crying in the bathroom for probably the
next hour like not understanding, like craziness. >> as word spread through amy jane's church family, so did the questions. high school youth pastor chris thatcher. early on was there any indication of who may have been responsible? >> i don't think anybody had any idea. i think that's what made this so hard is that so many of us, we know each other. we're family here. >> but there was the dismal work to do. lieutenant caldera returned to the motel where amy was murdered. it would be pretty hard for you to take part in an active investigation. >> no, i wouldn't have. i couldn't have. not with mrelay onship. >> lieutenant caldera turned the case over to detective sergeant rick jackson. >> it was a pretty -- pretty horrific crime scene. >> it was obvious amy jane fought for her life. her glasses lay in the bathtub. blood spattered the walls. dna of a male presumably her attacker would be found under her fingernails. but the medical examiner said it was not a sex attack.
and it wasn't robbery either. amy jane's purse and cell phone were still right there on the bedside table. and nobody saw a thing. even though -- >> this is during broad daylight with a motel room door -- with motel room doors open. >> the only potential witness, if he was a witness at all, was a painter working at the motel who said he saw a young man with longer hair, darker skin, perhaps hispanic or native american, walking near the back parking lot. >> it may have been the person who did it and it may not have been. >> could have been somebody passing by. >> sure. while we were there she was in the first hour of being at the crime scene. upwards of 50 people walked by. i mean, this is a pretty busy area of town. >> busy, yes. and studded with cctv cameras. banks, bridges, city hall, walking trails along the river that runs through town. detectives painstakingly went through the footage.
>> there was nothing. >> they took dna from dozens of motel guests to check against the sample taken from amy jane's fingernails. wasn't any of them. so detective jackson went to the people who knew amy jane well, or perhaps romantically. those stab wounds were all focused around her heart, which often indicates some kind of crime of passion. but -- >> i think most of the males we spoke to really viewed themselves as her protectors. >> pendleton police chief stuart roberts hurried back home from his abbreviated mexican vacation and encountered a case going nowhere fast. >> everybody that knew her characterized her in the same way. she knew no stranger. she didn't have an evil bone in her body. >> as the investigation entered its second week, amy jane's family prepared a memorial service at the church where they'd raised their daughter. >> amy loves thunderstorms. it was one of her favorite things to do go out barefoot and dance in the rain because she just loved it. the morning of her memorial
service there was a loud clap of thunder that came over town about 6:30. and several of us heard it. i think we knew. >> up there dancing in the rain somewhere, huh? >> i think she was. >> together we pray, in jesus' name, amen. >> hundreds crowded into amy jane's church. and many like jed and lisa hummel were amazed by the strength of amy jane's parents. >> they were hurting deeply, but they weren't looking for vengeance. >> me, on the other hand, i was just ticked. i was like this is insane. and everybody needs to find this person. >> oh, they were certainly trying. even at that very moment. >> we had about 10 to 12 undercover officers in and about the memorial service looking for anybody that would strike us as odd. >> but no one stood out.
>> hang in there, caleb. hang in there. >> a month after the murder, the famous roundup filled the streets as usual. and then they emptied again. and as the autumn wind turned raw, detective jackson's investigation chased down every lead and got nowhere. >> we call them rabbit trails. we ran hundreds of rabbit trails down. >> the holidays came and went, holidays for other people. not detective jackson. not chief roberts. >> it haunted me. this case haunted me. >> and then a spring breeze dipped into the pendleton valley, curled its warming fingers into secret corners and came out whispering a name. coming up -- >> we've gone for months with nothing and now this. >> out of the blue, a tip. have cops found their killer? >> we go out and find his girlfriend. she's going i always believed he could have done this.
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six months after the murder of amy jane brandhagen, investigators finally caught a break. a county jail inmate looking for a deal got word out to the cops. he claimed to know who killed amy jane. >> i mean, we'd gone for months with nothing and now this. >> there were two of them, said the inmate. ira draper and eric torres, both well-known to local law enforcement. who soon confirmed the men were in the area the day of the murder. they found torres first. and looked like they were on to something. torres said, yes, he was in on it. but he didn't kill her. it was the guy he was with, he said.
draper, who went into the motel room and came out very bloody. >> he basically tells them, yeah, i was driving the getaway >> it was his buddy who did the killing, he said. >> so we go out and find his girlfriend. she's going, i always believed he potentially could have done this. he's aggressive. and he has these journals. and there are journal entries about defiling women and killing and burying them. >> they found and questioned draper who said he understood why he was a suspect. >> have you ever thought about killing anybody? >> i've never really planned it out, but maybe thought about it, yeah. >> but after a few minutes with draper, jackson had a familiar sinking feeling. >> he was very much so enamored by the fact the police were giving him attention. >> he was playing you. playing it for all it was worth. >> he was getting a little street cred for it. >> the dna confirmed it was all an act.
two unpleasant men, the police said, who seemed to be enjoying themselves at the expense of the cops. so back to zero. by august 2013 it had been almost a full year since amy jane brandhagen's murder in pendleton. investigators had exhausted hundreds of leads. and themselves. >> i knew it was having an impact on my physiological health as well as my mental health. >> on august 8th the chief took his family out of town for some r and r. and the very next day a woman named karen lange happened to be a member of amy jane's church announced to her husband dan she was going for a walk. >> and she came down. and i'll never forget what she said. she said, well, you know, i was thinking that we can maybe go out for dessert afterward. >> karen was an accomplished singer and pianist. dan vice president of the local
community college. her walk along the river levee in downtown pendleton, the river walk was almost a daily habit. it was 4:30 p.m. lots of sun left on the warm august afternoon. >> and the last words she said to me were, well, i guess we'll just have a nice boring evening. >> dan went back to tinkering on his motorcycle. lost all track of time. it was dark when his son walked into the room and asked an innocuous question. >> where's mom? i said, well, i don't know. i'll give her a call. so i went -- i tried to make the phone call, and i couldn't get hold of her. >> but it was after 9:30 p.m. karen usually walked for less than an hour. she'd been gone for five. in some people anxiety stokes panic. dan is not like that. it's a coping mechanism, he stays calm. he made another call. >> long day, 10:00 at night. my phone rings. i answer, hi, dan. >> remember jed and lisa hummel?
friend of amy jane's from church? karen always parked their car in front of her house when she took her late afternoon walks. >> says, is karen at your house? no. i just got home and i asked lisa if she'd been over. and i said, no, haven't seen her. >> and i had looked outside and sure enough the car was still there. so we went out to the car and she wasn't there. >> so jed and lisa grabbed flashlights and walked a couple of blocks from their house down to the river levee. there in the parking lot sat a pendleton policeman. what should they do they asked him. >> he just thought it was unusual enough that he got ahold of dan. >> as the officer left to talk to dan, jed and lisa kept looking through the dark along the riverbank. >> there's a fear of not finding anything. and there's a fear of finding something. >> when i got to where the policeman was, we were talking, and he said, you seem to be
awfully calm for your wife being missing. and at that point i thought, holy mackerel, you know, if there's something -- if there's something bad that happened to her, i could be a suspect. >> from his patrol car the officer was able to pull up images from cameras stationed around the river levee. no sign of karen. then her cell provider sent a ping to karen's phone. it turned up across the main road about half a mile from the river. in the parking lot at walmart. where again, the officer could not find karen. what was going on? around and around the river walk they went pointing their puny flashlights at a sea of dark. >> i did go home at about 5:00. i wrote an e-mail saying karen's gone. i don't know where she is.
i just have to go to bed. and i went and i just cried. >> he did not sleep long. the phone call that startled him awake brought news. some good, some very, very bad. coming up -- amy jane's murder and karen's disappearance. could they be connected? investigators are about to discover a disturbing clue. >> i think in that moment most of us knew that that wasn't coincidence. if your purse is starting to look more like a tissue box... you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec
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what the poleman said next was terrifying. >> well, when he said we found your wife and she's alive, that was a great relief. but he certainly made it sound like it was a tough thing. >> oh, it was. karen had been struck from behind by some heavy blunt object. her skull was crushed. the wound was massive. right away the detective called the chief on vacation in the mountains five hours away and described the way they found did he think she was dead already? >> he thought she was dead. tremendous amount of blood. he indicates that he reaches for her wrist to see if she has a pulse and her leg moves. and she gasps. >> but it didn't look like she'd be alive for long. the detective drove dave lang to the hospital, told him prepare for the worst. as he arrived at the emergency room, dan ran into a nurse he
knew. >> and she took one look at me, and it was so heartbroken that i, of course, broke down. and then i had a chance to see karen. >> the doctors gave her a slim chance, 1 in 100, maybe. she was airlifted to a bigger hospital in portland for specialized care. as dan kept watch at her bedside, he remembered an odd comment karen made a few days before she was attacked. her boys were in college, nearly grown. she wasn't sure what her purpose was any more. as she told dan -- >> i really wish that i could be, you know, more useful, if i'm going to remain here. >> on planet earth. >> on planet earth. i would assure her that god has a plan. and you will be used. >> but what kind of use was this? if she lived, she might never regain consciousness. if she regained consciousness,
she might never be the same. how useful could that be? and then suddenly, the case in the murder of amy brandhagen and the attack on karen lang seemed to take on a new and terrifying meaning. chief roberts returned from his vacation to be handed this photograph by investigators. it had been taken four years earlier. >> one of the detectives had gotten his hands on an image of amy jane brandhagen and karen lang together dated august 14th. >> oh, my god. >> amy jane brandhagen was murdered on august 14th. karen lang was assaulted on august the 9th one year after amy jane's murder. >> you think somebody's targeting them or someone within the church has some strange motivation? >> it could be a member of the congregation or it could be somebody who they provided outreach services to. >> in pendleton at the free methodist church, the word spread quickly. >> i think in that moment most of us knew that that wasn't
coincidence. and i can't tell you how we knew. >> well, small town, same church. >> small town, same church. we all knew each other. i think we just knew. >> in a town where murder is rare, two women, one photo, and dates that lined up like a message. had to be a connection. >> certainly crossed my mind. crossed my mind. >> so they scoured hours of video recorded by dozens of cameras stationed around town looking for a suspect. good luck. when amy jane was murdered in broad daylight, those videos turned up exactly nothing. but then, then luck turned. they saw this. recorded by one of the cameras stationed around the river walk, 6:31 p.m. karen lang, there she is right there, out for her walk. and following her, a man
watching her with what looks like a pipe hidden behind his back right there. >> they cross a small foot bridge. there's a short stretch there maybe 50 or 60 yards where there's just no visibility from any direction unless you're actually on the path. and right there is where he attacks her. >> is that where she was found? >> she was found about 30 feet down the path. >> and then they found this video recorded by another camera about an hour after the attack. same man enters a park bathroom. and minutes later emerges to use a drinking fountain. >> i immediately said it's the same guy. we've got to show it's the same guy. >> wait, same guy as who? chief roberts remembered after amy jane was murdered the only witness who saw anything reported a young man with dark hair wandering near the motel. >> basically the description was fairly generic. male, 20-something, dark hair, a little bit longer, with dark toned skin.
now we have this second crime a year later, almost to the anniversary, and here's a male profile or image on our network camera system that fits. it fits. >> but who was he? and why was he targeting women from the same church? within hours a very unusual kind of pendleton roundup was underway. the order was clear -- find him. fast. coming up -- the evidence that was about to >> it gave me chills. ... katie. here's our chance. let's take this one together. what? i got you bear! p3 from oscar mayer. it's 13 grams of protein from the original source.
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when the free methodists of pendleton, oregon, went to their weekly worship services that sunday in august, 2013, they offered their prayers for karen lang lying in a portland hospital in a coma. her husband dan a constant presence at her bedside. the prognose was poor, but dan, optimistic by nature, struggled to hang on. >> it's just a faithful attitude that says no matter what happens it's god's plan. and his plan is to prosper us. even if i were to lose karen, i had to hold on to that and
realize that. >> in those first two days since karen was found in the brush alongside the pendleton river walk, shock spread like bad electricity. >> someone came up to our senior pastor and said, you know, i think i'm glad i'm not part of your church if all these things that have happened. >> yeah. >> you're thinking is there a serial killer around? >> not fear exactly, not yet. but someone was out there, was among them, had killed once perhaps twice. and so the unease grew. dark places were avoided. >> the odds of a stranger picking two people that were as connected difficult to wrap your mind around. >> umatilla county district attorney dan primis. this sounds more like a zodiac-type killer. like one of those weird puzzles. >> absolutely. as you're working these investigations, you're thinking all those things.
trying to determine what connection is there between karen lang and amy jane brandhagen. >> it seemed very likely to the police and the d.a. the man seen in the surveillance video was the one who attacked karen lang, and that he might also have been the killer who stabbed amy jane to death in that motel room one year earlier. but who was it? the chief asked his street cops to look at that video. anybody recognize him? and what do you know? one of them did. >> he looked at the image for a second and said that's danny wu. >> how did he know? because he'd encountered him four times in the previous year. minor infractions, though. so they never confirmed that his name actually was danny wu. but there was one thing that might help i.d. him. >> he had a very distinct tattoo on the inside of his left wrist which read, semper fi. >> he's a marine. >> that was my initial reaction. >> while chief roberts didn't know who the man really was or where he was now or why he
targeted two women who once taught bible school together, he knew they had to track him down right away. >> this is a community on edge. >> and now he's out there. >> he's out there. and we've got to find him. there could be more victims. >> the chief canceled all time off, called in every available officer. a manhunt was on. and then a bit of luck. the very same sharp-eyed detective who found karen noticed something odd nearby. a wooden panel on the back of an old batting cage beside the river walk looked not quite right. so the officer reached behind the loose panel and found a pipe that appeared to have blood on one end. the dna confirmed it was karen's blood. and then when the crime lab compared a dna sample from the other end of the pipe with the material found under amy jane's fingernails? >> i get that call on a sunday afternoon.
now we've connected the dots. >> the man who assaulted karen and amy jane brandhagen's killer were one in the same. right away the police chief shared the news with the d.a. >> i was at home. chief asked me if i was sitting down. he told me that the dna from the pipe matched the dna found underneath amy jane's fingernails. and it gave me chills. >> but though chief roberts' officers scoured the town, even distributed flyers with wu's picture on them, they found nothing. hours piled up, days, more than a week. no danny wu. but anxiety? oh, yes. >> you didn't leave garages unlocked. >> no. >> sheds, doors, windows, cars. >> yeah. you do. you feel like there's a serial killer in town. >> and then a call from the local convention center. two catering company employees told the dispatcher they'd gone in through a side door to the kitchen. >> and here sits this person who they readily recognize as this
danny wu that we had disseminated the images of and he was sitting there drinking a coke. and he basically picked up his stuff and disappeared into the >> so he's in the building somewhere. it's a big building. >> it's a big building. >> within minutes the police surrounded the convention center. a search dog trained to bite joined in. they set up a command post outside one of the center's windows. >> the dogs just woof, woof, woofing at the door. and the oregon state trooper behind us says i can see a leg hanging out of the ceiling. >> looking through a window. >> i take about two steps back from where i'm standing and i can see it. so i give him the command to enter. they enter, go straight to this location in the stairwell and there he is. >> minutes later the suspect, the man known as danny wu, the man who may have murdered one woman, possibly even two and terrorized the town of pendleton walked out in handcuffs and into the flashing cameras of the local paper.
later, officers took this video of his hiding spot in an air-conditioning duct in the convention center ceiling where he had a blanket, radio and some clothes. >> it looked like a nest. and looked like he'd been there for a while coming and going, hiding in plain sight. he'd been here all year. >> but now what? would he talk? lawyer up? or even would he reveal who he really was? and why it appeared he was targeting the women of the free methodist church. coming up -- inside a heart of darkness. >> i didn't understand that. i've never heard that before. >> revelations that would leave this town and its investigators shattered. >> i didn't know whether to cry, i was just dumbfounded.
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here he was, the man they knew as danny wu, the man detective sergeant rick jackson had been chasing for a year. >> i'm sergeant rick jackson. i work here at the pendleton police department. i know i'm not dressed like a normal police officer. >> jackson was out hunting elk when they caught danny wu. and rushed in still in his camo hoping finally to get answers to his year of questions. >> are you willing to talk to me? >> to a certain point. >> the chief and the d.a. watched from a nearby office. anything. i expected him to ask for a lawyer. i wasn't sure how he was going to respond to any of the
questions. >> but d.a. primis and all of them were in for a big surprise. >> what's your name? >> my name is lukah chang. >> i want to write it down. what's your last name? >> sure enough not danny wu. lukah chang, 23 years old, the son of christian missionaries. a deserter from the u.s. marines who drifted into town withou any plan and stayed in that downtown motel where he enrscountered a maid named amy jane. >> did you talk hoto her? >> no. only in passing like she would knock on the door. >> soon he was broke, living on the street, spending his days at the town library across the street from the travelodge. >> you walked by and saw -- >> aw working. i saw her working and just. >> how long did you have to wait sth. >> probably a half hour. >> you're weighting there a half hour, you're thinking to yourself what? >> i'm going to do it.
>> grabbed her, brought her into th motel room or into the bathroom and then what happened? >> i stabbed her. >> with what? >> a knife. >> when detective jackson tried to get into this young man's head, the conversation veered off into a cold and disturbing place. as a missionary's son, was lukah chang rebelling against his parents, against god? detective jackson asked the question on just about every mind in pendleton, oregon. >> why? >> to see how it felt. >> see how what felt? >> taking a life. >> why? >> i was curious. >> how did it feel? >> empowering. saddening. >> empowering and saddening? t>> yes. >> at the same time? >> yes. empowering because i took a life. saddening because i realized i've seen life is precious.
>> that was it? to see how it felt? >>0 i didn't understand that. i've never heard that from a ller before. >> but why the second attack? did he target those two women because they taught bible school together? because they appeared in that photograph together? >> not really. it was approaching the an verse i of the first time. >> and that was just about it, said lukah chang. >> she was walking by, i noticed, followed, attacked. >> he was a brick wall. if the real answer was buried in his religious past or his failed military career or some other secret corner, we were not to know. ever. >> do you feel remorse? >> not really. >> why is that? >> i got tired of feeling. emotions and stuff like that. i got tired of feeling the feelings. i'm like all right. let's just cut that out. >> then having had his say, the man the police had been chasing
for so long was safely tucked away in a jail cell soon to plead guilty to murder and attempted murder. and to begin serving 35 to life. >> i can't even describe the relief. it's like the world is lifted off your shoulders. >> iedidn't know whether to cry, didn't know whether to scream. you know, i just didn't -- i was just kind of dumbfounded. >> across the state in portland dan lang told his comatose wife karen they caught him. though, of course, she couldn't hear that. and then in a few days later dan turned on his video camera. d, well, see for yoursel >> karen, can you raise your hand again? yeah, can you raise that hand up? there you go. yeah. very good. >> to the astonishment of her doctors, life flooded back. >> i'm doing very well. i feel great. >> and just a year after that vicious attack, here she was, karen lang, the woman whose ordeal wound up catching a killer.
not exactly the purpose she expected when she talked to her husband dan that day. >> like i told him not that long ago i said don't ever pray for more to do with your life because, boy, do you get answered on that. >> the recovery took a long time of course. three hospitals, surgeries to rebuild her skull, months in a protective helmet. but of that awful night, she had no memory at all. what was the sense you recall at least of coming out of this blackness into -- back up into life again? >> well, a lot of it was just a feeling that i didn't know what was wrong. i didn't know why i was in a hospital. i didn't know i was in portland. >> the langs' troubles are not over. a few mo hs after dan brought karen home from portland, he was diagnosed th cancer. a skeptic's question.
you know, you two have been through so much in the last year that, i mean -- has this not damaged your faith? you're not angry at god for picking on you? >> no. >> i mean, if there's a plan for you, it's your plan to be so brutalized by an attack and by cancer? >> well, the beauty is that we also see the blessings, see how it's had such a positive effect on people and how it could be so much worse for me. i see it as we need to go through it. it will be a season of recovery for us. >> and then september 2014 it was pendleton roundup time again. and the emcee's voice boomed through the arena. miracles happen, said the announcer. >> no one in pendleton knows that better than our singer today.
for our national anthem please welcome miss karen lang. o say can you see by the dawn's early light >> i looked at it as an opportunity to really just thank the people of pendleton for all the support and things that they did for me and for my family. home of the brave >> in pendleton the world was back on its axis. though perhaps a smaller and sadder place without the girl who always reached out to the lonely, to the strangers just like the one who drifted into town and killed her. pretty remarkable, huh? i mean, isn't he exactly the sort of person she would have sought out? >> i find that very ironic.
and it's also the same person that if she were here today she would say take the way of forgiveness, it's the better way. >> let's pray. >> and every sunday the faithful still fill the pews at the pendleton free methodist church. and a barefoot sprite who loved to dance lives on, at least in memory. >> life is great. and i think the people who knew her would want to live better lives because of knowing her and knowing who she was. >> that's all for now. i'm lester holt.
court, accused of sexually assaulting a passenger. first, a gun bust goes wrong. gunfire erupts. an innocent man is shot. good evening. i'm chuck scarborough. >> i'm shiba russell. a lockdown shut down streets. a typically quiet area, suddenly a crime scene. we have a play by play of what happened. mark? >> reporter: chuck, in police speak, this is called a rip. it's a setup, and it ended with a 63-year-old innocent man getting shot. looking for clues under a blanket of darkness. hours earlier, before sunset, chaos erupted on this quiet suburban street. >> heard the first shots. it was like six, then four shots again. >> that's when i came outside and i saw the police car coming up the street. i just looked and saw the police running inifferent direction. >> reporter: when the bullets stopped ed
ped whizzing through the neighborhood, an innocent bystander, 63-year-old man, was shoto ushed to the hospital. >> i was very nervous. >> reporter: police say this is part of a long-term nypd gun investigation. a order is placed, deal made in the bronx. the undercover officer picked up the broker. the uc is told to drive to mount vernon for the guns. he has cash and is ready to buy from the known suspect. they pull up and suddenly, another suspect puts a gun to the officer's head. it's a odtup, but the s pects do,n't know tply're ripping off police. the uc gives a distress signal, and the backup team opens fire and hits one suspect, who is in stable condition, as well as another man. >> during the shooting, a bystander, 63-year-old man, who was standing behind the suspect, was also struck by at least two rounds. >> reporter: the other suspect, e yoman who arranged the gun